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Awarded for service to the Community
Born: 20 September 1953
Entered on roll: 2008
Kerry Degrassi was born in Tasmania and grew up in Warrane. Her sense of social justice developed from a young age and she has devoted much of her adult life to community work. She married George in 1977 and between them they have four children.
Kerry’s passion is children, and she has a long history of supporting and working for children and families at both a local and national level. As a member of the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) she served as both a board member and President at state and national levels. Kerry has also been a member of the Commissioner for Children’s Advisory Council from 2004 to the present. She has mentored young women on a regular basis and is a member of EPOCH Tasmania (End Physical Punishment of Children).
During her time as Chairperson of the Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) from 2004-06 Kerry, together with the CEO and Board, secured a significant funding increase for the service. This has allowed an extension of services to victims of sexual assault, including for children and youth services. She continues to sit on this board.
In 1983 Kerry, as part of a national team of veterans, partners and supporters lobbied for, and then worked on, the Royal Commission on the use and effects of herbicides and pesticides on Australian personnel during the Vietnam War. She was closely involved with a birth defects study conducted here in Tasmania.
In 1996, Kerry was elected to the Sorell Council. Her continuing tenure has also included a term as Mayor from 1999-2000. She has participated in setting up youth groups within her community and each year she works with students at her local high school, educating them about the responsibilities of governance. The students learn how the Sorell Council functions and about the roles of councillors and staff. They are encouraged to think of future career options available to them in the Council, including that of an elected member.
Kerry was a member of the Tasmanian Women’s Council from 2002-05. She is also a strong advocate for Neighbourhood Houses and in 1997 became the founding President of Okines Community House in Dodges Ferry, where she continues as a committee member today. She also initiated a volunteers festival to celebrate the work done by volunteers in her municipality. Kerry was the founding President of Southern Beaches Regional Arts which is now in its 13th year. She has helped raise funds for many organisations and in 1994 was named the Tasmanian Multicap Quest recipient. She has also been a Director of the TasSouth Tourism Association and was a representative on the Southern Tourism Taskforce.
Kerry’s life experience has enriched her contribution to the diverse roles and activities with which she has been involved. She takes every opportunity to develop her skills to stay up to date with current practices. Kerry’s life has been full of opportunities, which she has often created herself.
Kerry attributes the ability to do what she does, to having a very supportive and loving partner who believes in her.